Vanity thought #1627. Gravitational waves

The entire internet is buzzing with unexpected discovery of “gravitational waves” and this subject is sure to come in our discussions on science. I’m not a scientist but, out of personal vanity, I sure have an opinion that I consider valuable and worth sharing.

What happened was that two labs running LIGO project noticed a spike in their readings which indicate influence of magic gravitational waves no one has ever been able to detect before. Existence of gravitational waves was predicted a hundred years ago by Einstein himself but so far they have been elusive.

The problem is that on quantum level gravitational force is too weak to be studied in the lab and on this occasion fluctuations in this force have been spotted from interaction of massive black holes spinning around each other and then coalescing into one. Each of them was about thirty times heavier than our Sun do I suppose it was an exceptionally rare event on the universal scale and scientists were finally able to detect its effects with our existing technology.

What they used was lasers bouncing of mirrors and it’s the laser beams that were affected by spikes in gravitation. If you imagine a flat line that was interrupted by a single spike you would be wrong. The reality is that we have pretty loud gravitational noise in the background all the time and what scientists managed to achieve is register one little spike lasting milliseconds which resembled what they expected from the collision of these black holes, and not only that but the same spike appeared in two different labs thousands of miles apart at the predicted time interval. Right now they are convinced it couldn’t have come from anything else and this discovery has gone very public.

Could they be wrong? There’s no way to check and we should go on trust only. LIGO project is not nearly as massive as Large Hadron Collider but it’s still beyond the abilities of any single person to double check their findings. Officially it employs nearly a thousand scientists from a variety of fields as well over forty thousand volunteers working from home. Only very few people have the full overall picture and the rest do their own parts and do not fully understand the work of others.

This discovery is sure to earn a Nobel prize but the question now is exactly who is going to get it because even two-three people this project is associated with in the media might not be responsible for the actual breakthrough. The science behind it was known for decades so they didn’t discover anything unexpected and didn’t add anything particularly new.

There are three major components of this success. First is the laser interferometer itself, second is the supercomputers processing signals, and the third is organizational power behind it.

Let’s say we credit engineers of the laser interferometer but they didn’t discover anything themselves – it was supercomputers that were able to analyze received data and produce the result. Obviously we can’t give sole credit to engineers who managed the computers and designed the software either. LIGO project started in 2002 and ran for eight years without discovering anything and it was the significant upgrades undertaken since then that enabled us to finally register the sought out spikes. They say interferometers are four times more sensitive now then they were in 2010 and they are still not at their full design capacity which they expected to achieve by 2021. This is the case for crediting organizers behind the project who simply employed engineers like we employ contractors to upgrade our kitchens.

Eventually they’ll figure it out, of course, and it’s not very likely that scramble for credits will get reported publicly. There probably won’t be any scramble at all due to compartmentalized nature of the project and the decision will be left to Noble prize committee, I’m talking about this not because of awards but to demonstrate that peer review of a project of this scale is nearly impossible. Large Hadron Collider is not much different in this respect but they seem to be better organizationally prepared to least double check themselves, and they put out their raw data online, too.

Ok, let’s say they did discover these gravitational waves, now what? No one knows exactly because we’ve never seen converting mass and energy into gravitational force and there’s a lot of theoretical knowledge here that now needs to be confirmed. Experimental discoveries should be able to affect theories as well so no one knows the shape of science in the decades ahead.

Since they can’t build any larger colliders than LHC perhaps this will be the future direction of scientific push attracting funds and people. Will this allocation of resources be justified? No one really cares as long as it stays exciting and generates theoretical and experimental discoveries. What’s this science for anyway? Does it make any difference if they watch collision of subatomic particles in Switzerland or black holes billions of light years away?

Do they push science where it needs to go or let their minds control its course? Politicians might express the desire to crack alternative fuel or global warming challenges but it won’t have a major effect on the overall course of science if these fields are considered relatively boring, which they are. We should not allow ourselves to be fooled that science somehow follows some special rules of human behavior. Nope, even if they are less interested in fame and money they are still slaves to their minds and their superior intellect offers them extremely compelling justifications for their choices.

What do gravitational waves mean in our Vedic framework? Perhaps a few years from now some devotee would discover interesting ślokas but judging by how things are going with astronomy we are unlikely to see major breakthroughs in uniting modern and Vedic science so don’t get your hopes up. Personally, I’m satisfied with interpreting gravitation as property of water and don’t want to pursue this subject any further.

I mean they know the space – property of ether, they know force – property of air, they know energy – property of fire, now they found connection between these three elements and gravitation. Gravitation is a binding force and so should be related to water but I might be wrong and I’m also pretty sure that these concepts can’t be directly translated one into another.

Vedic elements evolve one from another so connection between them must be there, they haven’t discovered anything new. Nor have they got any closer to Kṛṣṇa as the Absolute Truth because whatever big or little steps we take do not get us any closer to infinity by definition. They call it progress but it’s a misuse of the term because they do not know their final goal and do not measure their advancement in the big scheme of things. It’s as much progress as hamster running in the wheel and counting his rungs. Yep, he is moving alright, the wheel is moving, too, the movement is measurable – everything looks fine, but in the bigger picture he is not going anywhere.

They might tell us about exciting new discoveries, new horizons, roadmap to success etc etc. This mood of theirs never changes and they have been pushing it on us as far as anyone can remember. Enough already, grow up and realize that real challenges in life can’t be answered by gravitation or quantum mechanics, nor by childish excitement about these things. Try to conquer your mind instead and earn the mercy of the Absolute, everything else is just a hobby you pick up while in prison, don’t pay too much attention to it.

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